Animal Assisted Psychotherapy & Learning Training

Demand is increasing for ethical and professional animal assisted psychotherapy (AAP) and animal assisted learning (AAL) practitioners. The word is spreading about the power of animal therapy, and people are looking for skilful animal assisted psychotherapists.

Are you ready to provide skillful, ethical and professional AAP and AAL services to your clients?

What is AAT?

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a therapeutic intervention that involves working with animals as part of a treatment plan to complement and enhance the benefits of therapy. Animals most commonly incorporated into AAT are horses, dogs, cats, pigs, rabbits and birds (however, all species have a unique gift). AAT is often used as a broad umbrella term for many different types of animal-assisted interventions, therapies, and activities.

What is AAP?

Animal Assisted Psychotherapy is a professional, innovative and experiential approach to counselling, psychotherapy, and mental health that supports clients of all ages in addressing therapeutic goals (emotional, cognitive, behavioural, relational and spiritual issues, and mental health conditions), with animals as assistants, co-facilitators and teachers in this process.

AAP is a form of Animal Assisted Therapy. It is a form of Psychotherapy/Therapy, and thus, should be offered by registered counsellors, psychotherapists or mental health practitioners only (in US, licensed Health Care professionals).  

In AAP, clients are offered safe experiences with animals for the purpose of exploring self-experience, exploring experience in relationship, building self-awareness, building awareness of patterns / habits that are no-longer serving clients well, psychological healing and addressing clinical or therapeutic goals clients have identified or agreed to.

What is AAL?

Animal Assisted Learning (AAL) is a unique approach to experiential learning, where clients are offered safe experiences with animals for the purposes of personal development, social-emotional and relationship skills building, enhancing quality of life, and, professional development skill development (e.g. leadership and team building). AAL are non-therapy based services.

While AAP and AAL may look similar in their use of activities and in the clients they serve, however, they are very different. AAP’s can offer clinical intervention as regulated by healthcare laws and provided by licenced professionals. Unless supervised by a licenced professional, AAL is not therapy, and does not provide treatment for mental or behavioural healthcare issues. For legal and ethical reasons, it is important this distinction is made clear.

Who is this training for?

  • Are you an Equine Assisted Psychotherapist looking to include different animals into your psychotherapy or psychological services?
  • Are you passionate about animals and how they support learning, growth, change and healing?
  • Are you a Psychologist or Social Worker looking to support more difficult to reach clients effectively?
  • Are you a Counsellor or Psychotherapist passionate about change for clients, and deeply connected to all animals?
  • Are you passionate about EAP, however, do not have your own horses, herd or skills to include horses into your practice, so are looking for a way to work that has psychotherapeutic depth and rigour?
  • Are you a Teacher, Educator, Coach, Youth Worker, Animal Specialist/trainer or Complementary Therapist looking to offer innovative learning services with the power of the human-animal bond?

If you answered yes to any of these, then this program is for you!

Note: Students need to have fluency in English for training and submission of assessment material.

This Animal Assisted Training is designed especially for you!

How is the training delivered?

This is a 5 day training course is delivered in person at EPI HQ in Victoria, near Daylesford.

What will you learn?

Animal Assisted Psychotherapy Students

Learn to be experiential psychotherapists and practice psychotherapy…with animals. This requires very specialist understanding of psychotherapy theory, knowledge, skill and methodology. We teach you our model of psychotherapy, including unique theory of change, psychotherapy theory, principles and methodology to support you to offer effective psychotherapy with children and adults.

Animal Assisted Learning Students

Learn about the power of relationally-based experiential learning to foster engagement, growth and learning…with animals. This requires very specialist knowledge, skill and application. We teach you our model of experiential learning, and the principles, theory and practice skills you need to offer animal assisted education, animal assisted activities, animal assisted learning (including personal development, and social emotional learning).

animal assisted therapy rabbit

What animals are featured in AAP/AAL training?

Our training respectfully includes horses, cats, dogs, chickens and rabbits, giving you diversity in your training experience to learn and apply animal therapy (AAP & AAL) with different species, in indoor and outdoor settings, and to explore environmental enrichment for different animals.

Can you specialise in a species?

Students can specialise their animal therapy practice in training discussions with a variety of other animals including goats, cows, sheep, pigs, guinea pigs, mice, rats or chickens.

Animal Assisted Therapy - chickens

Core Curriculum Learning Areas

    Introduction to AAP and AAL
    Animals and the Human-Animal Bond
    AAP/AAL Introduction and underpinning theory
    AAP/ AAL Environment and Setting
    AAP / AAL Practice and Interventions
    Trauma, Neuroscience and AAP/ AAL Ethics

What is the Investment?

5 Days Training $1,800 plus GST

Training Dates

Join one of our life changing programs today

Why Train with Us?

We are an established training organisation and have been successfully training many hundreds of practitioners since 2011. As with all of our Specialist and Advanced programs, our standard of training is high in this advanced intensive. We are celebrating our 10th year of training in EAP/ AAP!

We have a unique approach to EAP / EAL and AAP / AAL. Our EPI Model is a psychotherapy model, that is fundamentally founded on ethical practice with both clients and animals. Our faculty is highly qualified and experienced in Psychotherapy and Animal Assisted Practice, and live and breathe this work.

This training program is designed to support you as a practitioner to be personally and professionally competent in working with animals and humans for the purpose of human growth, learning, development and healing, where the animals are honoured as teacher, assistant and co-facilitator.

We will support and challenge you to grow and feel ‘held’ as you grow into grounded and authentic practitioners.

As a graduate of our foundation and advanced training, you can choose to become a member of our EPI community of practitioners and get access to ongoing support, supervision and advanced, high quality specialist psychotherapy training.

Who are our trainers?

Our faculty includes our Founder and Senior Trainer, Meggin Kirby and Paula Jewell, our EPI Program Manager and Animal Specialist with experience including chickens and a variety of animals in AAP/ AAL.

Meet Our FacultyFrequently Asked Question

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